Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3: ...sigh........

...we have a provincial election coming up. What are the crucial problems we face?
1.A wild and destructive economic system that each year makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. It's going to destroy itself and us.

2. A very few people have all the power in NB. The very few are rich, not very bright, and interested only in themselves. In this situation, our elected government is a farce, and Alward no more than a dancing monkey.

The rich are now preparing to take over your schools   (and ruin them), take over health care (so you won't be able to afford it), and generally rub your faces in the dirt.

3. We lack the fundamental requirement of a democracy, an honest and free press.

4. We waste money, giving it away to the rich while starving fundamental needs of the people of New Brunswick.

5. We are plunging, like Canada, into a reckless development of resources which will give us very little in return, and will probably cause irreparable damage.

On the good side perhaps the greatest achievement New Brunswick has made is in its handling of accommodating  people of two languages.

People's Alliance leader Kris Austin announced his party's response to these challenges.

He would do a feasibility study of the idea of a second refinery - in the northern part of the province. He would have free votes in the legislature; and lower taxes for small businessmen (wrong word Kris, it's entrepreneurs).

Oh, yes, language. He would away with duality in health care.

Here is a platform that nicely balances the irrelevant with the destructive. And nowhere in it is there any statement of the principles the party believes in, the values it holds. Well, how could there be?

And the leader actually says - get this - he says the  government has too much power. What cave does this man live in? The government has NO power. Almost all the power is in the hands of a few of the wealthy.

And what would be wrong if the government did have power? Government has too much power - that's a Norbertism. We elected the government. It is the only hope we have of exercising any power at all. The whole idea of democracy rests on the principle of a government having power. If it has no power, we have no power. (which is where we are now.)

Advice to the membership People's Alliance.
1. Don't make statements that are meaningless.
2. Think through what statements really mean before you adopt them.
3.Give some serious thought to precisely what it is you believe in. What are your values? What is a government for? What do you think people have a right to?

Today's propaganda is on p. B1. A report says public servants are overpaid. And who are the experts who decided this? They're the members of yet another right wing think-tank (propaganda house for big business). This time it's the C.D.Howe Institute.

Funny thing, there are a few honest and capable think tanks. One doesn't always agree with them, but at least we know they are honest and intelligent. And you know what? I have never seen an honest and intelligent think-tank referred to in a North American newspaper. They always go for the far right hacks like AIMS and the C.D.Howe.

But it surely takes one hell of a nerve for even a hack working for billionaires to say that public servants are overpaid.

Public servants do much the same sort of work as is done by corporation executives. But the corporation execs get millions and even billions for it.  I've never even heard of a civil servant who makes comparable money.

The researcher admits that private sector pay is "somewhat" higher. However, he says that public sector pensions make up for that.

Like hell they do.

In fact, the private sector often offers gifts for life - but just doesn't call them pensions.

Trust Irving press to publish this biased and misleading information without ever mentioning that the source of the story is a propaganda front for the rich, and one with a long record of lying.

I'm afraid the Ukraine insanity is a long way from over. On B5, a US general says Russian troops are on the Ukrainian border are poised for an attack.

In reality, Nato has moved its border up to the Russian border. In doing so, it allowed the likes of Harper, assorted generals, politicians to say that Russia is concentrating its forces on the border.

Of course, it has. The Russians now have the most aggressive and ruthless armies of the last 50 years, the NATO forces, with a clear run to its border. What the hell do those generals and Harper expect the Russians to do with their troops. Send them to Disneyland?

The dangerous part is the way so many speak of NATO. They give it powers it doesn't have. NATO has no right under any law to declare war on anybody. It's not a country. UN rules gives right to countries, yes, but not to alliances. That's why it's called United Nations and not United Alliances.

Yet Harper is swaggering about, talking tough. It's quite possible he will take us into a position in which we will lose a basic right - the right to decide, through parliament, when to go to war. Americans lost that right fifty years ago. That's one reason the US is not a democracy any more.

The story ends with the repetition of an old myth - that Hitler was able to begin his conquests because British Prime Minister Chamberlain did not honour his commitment to defend Czechoslovakia against Germany. And we are told that the gutsy Churchill would have stopped it all right there.

That's bunk.

The British could not support the Czechs because they had no army or air force anywhere close to being able to do the job. Chamberlain had no choice. If Churchill have been in power and done the same thing, he would have lost most of his army - as he nearly did in the disaster of Dunkirk a year later.

The German forces were far bigger and better equipped and had better planning than the British did in 1938 and 1939,

As it was, Churchill was wrong even in 1939. In just over a  year, he had lost World War 2. He knew it.  And he admitted it. He even spoke of getting out  of it by handing over part of the British Empire to Hitler. What saved him was Hitler's invasion of Russia, and then the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour.

I hope it's not true. But it is possible that the US is thinking of an attack on Russia. And it is possible that Harper will be a big enough fool to commit us to it.

Most worrisome is the continuing silence and absence of Obama. It suggests that he is not really in charge. And, yes, that is thinkable.

An important story didn't make it at all. Palestine has applied for membership in the UN. Israel has said that if it does, then Israel will annex even more Palestinian land. The US says it will support Israel in what would be an illegal act. But what the hell, Israel has done it before, many times.

And it seems possible that Israel has something else that the US will support it on. It wants to bomb Iran on the pretence Iran is developing nuclear weapons - despite the fact the UN inspectors say it isn't. Such a bombing would be illegal, of course. But the US will veto any UN criticism of Israel.

Leading American politicians have already been bought by the Israeli lobby in the US.

This is a major story because of its implications. For example, Americans who feel the US has gone way too far in supporting Israel (and that includes many American Jews) are a growing number. Israel's aggressive and brutal behaviour is making it enemies. One also wonders about the consequences of a bombing of Iran. There is no telling how far out of control an action might go. This is dangerous.

But there's a serious weakness. There seems to be nobody at the Irving press who knows enough about the news to be able to tell what's important. The result is page after page of irrelevant stories, and important ones ignored. It's as though the news editor picks up his stack of stories from the press services each morning, and says, "Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe".
Very solid columns by Alec Bruce and Norbert Cunningham climate change. Cunningham starts with an idea that is by no means a solution - but it's a good illustration of starting to think - and the sort of thing we should be seeing in government at all levels.

Rod Allen's column has a good title. He should have stopped there.

Jody Dallaire's column strikes a sympathetic chord because it shows some good ideas about strengthening democracy. But I misses the big problem. We and our governments are own and used for their own purposes by the wealthy. There is not a word on that.

But that is the key issue for New Brunswickers. Unless it is dealt with, nothing else matters.
News they missed:

The most  (the only) success of the US in AFghanistan has been to increase the world supply of opium and heroin. 80% of the the world supply now comes from Afghanistan - and it kills an estimated million people a year all over the world.

The International Monetary Fund, with the help of the new and unelected president of Ukraine has imposed its austerity budget on Ukraine. The purpose is to drain as much as possible out of the country so that bankers get paid off. And that was what the coup against the government and all this fuss was really about from the start.

The suffering is going to be enormous because the whole load is being put on the poor and the middle class. The rich, just like here, will be getting a free ride.

Ain't democracy wonderful?

Sorry to be so late. I had an exercise class this morning so I can be beautiful again. Then a medical to tell me it isn't going to work. The rest of the time I've been chaufering my children.

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